Northumbria Chess League 2010-11

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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Summer Knockout!

Posted by Checker on July 22, 2011

Round 1
Leam Lane Aces 3½-2 Forest Hall B
Eldon Leisure 1½-4 Tynemouth Castles
Morpeth B 4½-2 Newcastle
Gateshead Libraries 1½-3½ Gosforth Empire
Tynemouth Warriors 2½-3 Tynedale Reivers
Tynedale Tans 1½-4 Forest Hall A
Alnwick 3-3½ Jesmond Knights
Gosforth Regents 2½-4 Morpeth A

Round 2 – 1st named team is at home:
TROPHY:
Gosforth Empire v Jesmond Knights
Forest Hall A v Morpeth A
Morpeth B v Tynedale Reivers
Leam Lane v Tynemouth Castles

PLATE:
Tynemouth Warriors v Newcastle
Gosforth Regents v Alnwick A
Gateshead Libraries v Eldon Leisure
Tynedale Tans v Forest Hall B

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Individual Championships concluded

Posted by Checker on July 3, 2011

Congratulations to…

Zollner: Ed Dodds & John Boyd
Sell: Amarvansh Singh Wadhwa
Newcastle: Dave Stebbings

Further details under the respective pages in the right panel.

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Eldon win sends the Rookies down

Posted by Checker on April 25, 2011

Further details of Eldon Leisure’s 3-2 win over Tynemouth Trojans will follow later, but of more interest to Division 1 watchers will be the effect of that result on the relegation places: the Leisure have jumped off the trapdoor at the last minute and it’s Jesmond Rookies whose three-year stay in the top flight is over, barring any summer reshuffles.

Hearty commiserations must go to the Rookies whose battle for survival, without any former Zollner champions making guest appearances on Board 1, was as intriguing a subplot to the league season as ever. Congratulations to Forest Hall A and Eldon Leisure whose full-strength sides, at least, have proven themselves deserving of a place in next season’s Division 1.

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The B's are back in town

Posted by Checker on March 31, 2011

Morpeth B started the evening with their promotion place still in doubt, and finished it as 2nd division champions. With an average grade comparable to a mid-table 1st division team, their success was perhaps inevitable, but congratulations must go to them for a 100% performance that included the surprisingly rare feat of two 5-0 victories in one season.

That wraps up the 2nd division programme, with the exception of what will now be a leisurely evening out for the new champions against their venue-mates Alnwick.

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Get out the maps, it's South Shields

Posted by Checker on March 21, 2011

Their promotion was in the morning horoscopes after their draw with Gateshead A on Thursday, and was rubber-stamped when the latter team could only harvest three game points at Forest Hall, leaving them 5½ behind the South Tynesiders with one to play. It’s their first foray into the top flight since 1998, and means that over a space of four seasons every Northumberland club will have been represented in Division 1.

Gateshead could still muscle in on second place if they beat Morpeth B and mid-table Alnwick do likewise.

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The Castles bid farewell to Division 1

Posted by Checker on March 18, 2011

Not for at least 30 years has a club successfully kept three teams in the same division, and a serious points failure in the Tynemouth area has put paid to the latest heroic attempt. As an illustration of the uphill task that they faced from the start: after nine matches and 45 individual games, there have been three victories by Castles players. Two of them rank among this season’s top five giant-killing feats. The third was the single game out of 45 in which the Castles player outgraded his opponent.

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The Aces are back-to-back Champions

Posted by Checker on March 9, 2011

A closely-fought victory over Newcastle gives Leam Lane Aces the Division 1 title, their fourth in seven years, with a round to spare. Congratulations to International Master Jonathan Hawkins, Nick Tavoularis, Kyril Fomin, Richard Doyle, John Marsh, captain Robert Forsythe and “manager” Alan Young. Such was the brilliance of these gentlemen, so fluently did their pieces harmonise with their pawn structure, that some bloke called Chris Wardle who they dragged off the street to keep board 5 warm could have lost every game he played and they’d still be celebrating the title tonight.

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Division 1 round-up: Round 3

Posted by Checker on November 14, 2010

I was at the Gosforth Empire club (an excellent venue, with by far the league’s cheapest refreshments) to see Gosforth’s delayed 2nd round match against Jesmond Knights, and to witness the jubilant scenes that followed it. No, Gosforth hadn’t won – nor come close – but their board 4 player had come away with a draw, so the team had avoided a 5-0 whitewash. Once the champagne had stopped flowing, I agreed with captain Geoff Harrison that, in light of his draw, the board 4 player in question (Daniel Tomé, a Portuguese visitor playing his first match for the club) ought to be promoted to board 1 for this week’s visit of Newcastle. Gosforth were whitewashed 5-0. Sorry, Geoff!

Newcastle’s merging of their A and B teams has left them with an alarmingly strong line-up. John Wheeler, who is graded 177 and outgrades fully half of the league’s regular board 1s, told me before the season started that he was looking at playing board 5 most of the time. So I went away and looked through the old league tables wondering what was the record number of game points ever scored in a Northumbria league season. Then in their first match they fell flat on their faces against Morpeth A, and would now very much appreciate it if Morpeth could slip up against, say, defending champions Leam Lane Aces. But that particular showdown will not now take place until December at the earliest, as only 60% of Morpeth A were in England on the original date.

Last season Forest Hall A and Eldon Leisure became the first pair of promoted teams to survive in the 1st Division since 1997; both did so with relative ease thanks to their new top boards Charlie Storey and Alan Harvey. When the teams met on Friday, Charlie was present, Alan was absent; Forest Hall won 3½-1½.

Tynemouth Hobbits have had another underwhelming start, held to a draw by Gosforth and edged out by the Trojans whom they nominally outrank. But they were still far too strong for their other clubmates the Castles, whose eagerness to accept a 1st division place was most encouraging but who are already losing the fight for the valuable game points that could make the difference between second- and third-from-bottom. Captain Dave Mear’s defeat of John Clarke was their first individual victory this season. Still, it only takes couple of wins against the teams around them to put a different complexion on things…

Jesmond Knights faced their stiffest test so far at fellow 100%’ers Tynemouth Trojans. Steven Aitchison on board 5, now graduated and free from academic distractions, chipped in with a victory that takes him to 3/3 for the season, as did the lesser-spotted Jonathan Mutton filling in for Tumen Buyandalai on board 1, as the Knights scraped home 3-2 to resume the Division 1 lead. (Steven reckons his opponent could have played a line that neutralised his attack and left him a pawn down, potentially reversing the match result. How important will that twist of fate be for the 2008-9 champions come the end of the campaign?) A similar start to last season for the Knights, and still a much-improved one for the Trojans whose 1st Division status was only secured in March.

There is a reverse gravitational pull keeping Tynedale in the 1st Division.  2007: second-from-bottom, but saved by Forest Hall A’s withdrawal. 2008: third-from-bottom, saved with one round to spare. 2009: equal third-from-bottom, saved by a draw in their final match. 2010: rock bottom, but their second team rode to the rescue by winning promotion. Surely the league has run out of ways not to relegate them? Well, from the looks of this season’s start they have taken matters into their own hands: their victory over Jesmond Rookies was their second in three matches,  and another would probably see them safe, with both promoted teams due to visit the Dyvels Inn in the next three rounds.

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Division 2 round-up: Round 3

Posted by Checker on November 7, 2010

The big question after three rounds: can South Shields go the distance? They certainly have the strength to compete at the right end of the table – Simon McGuinness is a near-unstoppable force in the 2nd division, Kevin Rowden has become a player to underestimate at your peril, and their latest 3-2 triumph over Morpeth C proved that their lower order can also dig deep when it matters. They will face better teams than Morpeth C, but the points are on the board and the momentum is on their side.

One team who will certainly have other ideas is Morpeth B – supertition has it that tipping them for success will guarantee the opposite, but with a combined grade of 281 on boards 4 and 5, this may be the season when they don’t need to rely on luck. With games in hand after a bye and a postponement, they are lurking with intent.

Relegated Gateshead A need to try and stay in contention while they await Dusan Zdjelar’s return, but they failed to get out of their drawing habit against a Tynemouth Warriors side lacking their usual spearhead in the shape of Richard Oxnard. The Warriors themselves have had a desperately unlucky start – with a draw and two 3-2 defeats, they have managed to score their 6½ game points in the worst possible order, but you suspect they are capable of better results.

Tynedale Reivers recovered from their encounter with the South Shields steam train by overpowering Gateshead Knights on the upper boards – the question is whether a similar team to that which finished an excellent 2nd last season can repeat their achievements against what looks like a slightly stronger field. The Knights have picked up where they left off last season – mid-table potential banana skins who are almost inevitably going to put a dent in someone’s promotion bid (they may already have done it to their own A team). Colin Gilroy on board 5 is a much bigger threat than his current grade of 103 suggests.

Forest Hall B scraped a win with only four players against a Jesmond Pawns team who have once again had their best players poached over the summer and may be looking at a long season of rebuilding. Forest Hall have now beaten two of the back-markers, but someone’s 100% record will have to end in their encounter with South Shields.

Alnwick’s bid to dodge the wooden spoon took a turn for the worse when a winnable match against Gosforth Regents went against them by a 3-2 scoreline.

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